A reasonable car spoilt by an unyielding ride and a flawed cabin

What is it?

This is the new Megane Coupe 2.0 TCe and, on the face of it, it’s a car that ticks all the right boxes.

Looks are important for any coupe and, while aesthetics are subjective, there’s no denying that the low, wide Renault Megane Coupe 2.0 TCe is striking. Under the bonnet is a 178bhp 2.0-litre motor with a twin-scroll turbocharger, an evolved, detuned version of the engine from the previous-generation R26 hot hatch.

And because this is a coupe and not a rakish family hatch, you can forgive the three-door Megane its cramped rear seats and poor visibility.

What’s it like?

Once you get beyond the looks and specification, the Renault Megane Coupe 2.0 TCe is not that brilliant.

The first disappointment is the cabin. The overall look and feel is fine; the problem is in niggling details. The digital speed read-out is a good idea, but is brashly executed. And the starter button is on the passenger side of the centre console on right-hand drive models – you have an awkward stretch around the gear lever to reach it. These are small details, but they are frustrating.

On the road the new engine is eager; with the turbo kicking in at 1200rpm and the full 222lb ft of torque available at 2250rpm, it ought to be. But the surging low-rev performance tails off further up the rev range, so the Renault Megane Coupe 2.0 TCe doesn’t quite live up to its low-rev promise.

The Megane Coupe handles reasonably well; it corners with plenty of grip and little body roll, and is eager to change direction. The only real black mark is a ride that, although better than a Laguna Coupe’s, never settles properly or smoothes out short-frequency undulations.

So should I buy one?

We can’t really recommend it. It’s not that the Renault Megane Coupe is a bad car. It does most things well, but it excels in no areas and annoys in a couple. Our advice? If you want a three-door coupe, spend a couple of grand more and go for a VW Scirocco.

Matt Rigby

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Vanquish 26 January 2009

Re: Renault Megane Coupe 2.0 TCe

I absolutely do not agree with you Matt, but hey you're the proffessional. Very odd though how both in this thread and that of the Meg 5 door that the general consensus is that us 'real' if obviously rather ill informed customers think the Renault is worth consideration. If you guys want any manufacturers around at the end of this economic crisis perhaps you should be a little more supportive of their efforts rather than the dismissive attitude you take to anything withourt a Ford or VW badge of a 500 BHP engine...You are so out of touch. My company runs over twenty Focus's and they are ok, but they rattle, the seat backs are too narrow for most drivers, the dash is bland as are the looks (which dont offend either), we've had a Megane for the past week for assessment and so far all our Focus drivers prefer it, Its safe, comfortable, well equipped and good value. Your job is to be impartial but its always the same old, change the record Matt.

david RS 24 January 2009

Re: Renault Megane Coupe 2.0 TCe

A nice car.

Matt Rigby 21 January 2009

Re: Renault Megane Coupe 2.0 TCe

Vanquish wrote:
No supprise there then Autocar, are VW slipping you something ? The Scirocco isn't as amazing as you suggest, its nice to drive but I fail to see where it excells, No car is free from design fault, only a few years ago we had to put up with Mercs and Audi's with the windscreen wipers sweeping the wrong way leaving a dirty area infront of the driver.

Yes - a car that is demonstrably better than the Megane Coupe in most objective areas.

The Scirocco feels better screwed together, the (relatively) glacial depreciation curve offsets the greater initial outlay and, most important, the Scirocco is both more composed and way more involving than the Renault.

Oh, and Merc and Audi have realised the value of the small adjustments that make right-hand drive versions of cars ostensibly engineered for left-hand drive properly sorted. Why can't Renault do the same?